Flashback Frid….er Sunday? Chicken Mummies!

This is more of an activity then a craft, but since there is crafty involved I think it totally counts. This project is from awhile back when we studied ancient Egypt.

I have never mentioned it here but we are a homeschooling family. One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can do awesome, fun projects.

One of those projects is making these chicken mummies!

First you need some supplies:

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salt
cinnamon
baking soda
baking powder
alcohol
oil (any type-not pictured)
large ziplock bags
small frying chickens or Cornish hens

If your poultry of choice is frozen, thaw it out.

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Mix up the ingredients for the natron salt…

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this was the kids favorite part!

The natron is where you use all that salt, baking soda, baking powder and some of the cinnamon. I looked all over for the directions we originally used and couldn’t find them but I seem to remember a ratio of 1/2 salt, 1/4 BS and 1/4 BP and then add a bunch of spices. I have seen directions using all salt so I think as long you have plenty of that you will be all set. You will need to make a LOT of natron so if you can get the ingredients in bulk, do so. Otherwise you will have to go to Walmart and buy all that stuff you see in my picture…more than once…and the cashiers will begin to wonder about you.

You will also need some spiced oil. This is basically oil and spices (shocking!) that you need to mix up early on as the spices need to steep in a jar. Neither the natron nor the oil recipes specify cinnamon, you can use any aromatic spice (cinnamon. cloves, nutmeg, allspice), but since I had to use a butt-ton I went with the 2/$1 cinnamon.

Here is our spiced oil percolating in an old jam jar.

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Now you need to get the chickens ready. We used Cornish hens. You need to wash the hens, dry them and dip them in an alcohol bath.

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Then fill the cavity with natron and nestle them in more natron.

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At first we used the ziplock bags but found it was hard to keep the whole hen covered so we switched to a large Tupperware container.

You need to change the natron a lot at first, like every few days, but after awhile you can go every week or so. You will need to remove the hens, clean off the salts (I read you were suppose to wash them off but I just brushed them off) and add new salts.

After a week or so they looked like this:

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After about six weeks the hens were ready for their entombment! This is the fun part!

You need to anoint the mummies in spiced oil then wrap them in cotton dipped in glue. I had a bunch of rolled bandages and some mod podge,,,good enough!

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Here are the results: Queen Cluckopatra and King Bobantatum!

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They were then gilded…

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and entombed.

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We also preserved some of the internal organs and sored them in canopic jars. You don’t wrap the organs, you fill the jars with oil.

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The tombs are wipe containers spray painted and then hand painted with acrylics and bejeweled. For the canopic jars were just paper mache and acrylics over ordinary jars (I think this jar was a caper jar). The gilting was spray glitter.

It was fun but it left quite a mess.

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We made these about 3 1/2 years ago and they still don’t smell. The organs however did. We didn’t keep those.

Penguin Cake…sort of

My daughter Is crazy about penguins. She also loves  cookie bars. So when she requested cookie bars in place of cake for her birthday I knew just how to decorate them!

First I gathered all the ingredients:

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For the penguins you need:

tootsie rolls (one per penguin)
mini marshmallows
orange colored morsels

Here’s how you do it.

First take you tootsie roll and slice a bit off the bottom…

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then you round off the big piece (this will be the body)…

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cut the smaller part in half and flatten both into wing shaped and attach them to the body.

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Next take a mini marshmallow and cut off a slice then stick that slice to the front of the body like so.

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This next part is kind of tricky. Cut off two tiny pieces of marshmallow and roll them into balls then stick them on as eyes. It’s trick because those little suckers are sticky! They need to be to stick to the body but they also want to stick to your fingers. Just be patient and try using the end of you knife.

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For this next part make sure you have a very sharp knife. You need to cut the tip off…

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and stick it on the penguin to make a beak.

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And you have a penguin!!

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Or a bunch! These guys are hanging out waiting for me to make the cookie bars 🙂

Of course it probably would have been easier to just put on eyes and beaks with décor icing but I didn’t have any and I did have orange morsels and mini marshmallows so there’s that. You work with what you’ve got people!

Next I baked the cookie bars. For them ou need:

yellow or white cake mix
5 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
2 C chocolate chips or m&ms or whatever you like

Basically you melt the butter and mix it all together and spread it in the pan like so…

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The batter will be VERY thick and sticky and you are probably going to have to use your hands to spread it into the pan. Get them wet to help keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  The recipe calls for a 9X13 but I can’t get the batter to spread that far. I use either a 8.5X12 disposable or an 8X8.

Once the bars had cooked and cooled I frosted with vanilla frosting and got ready for the next step in cake decorating…the igloo!

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Basically I just built up levels of sugar cubes until we got something vaguely igloo shaped…

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and topped it with more frosting “snow” and a penguin 🙂

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I finished it off with a blue sugar “ocean” at one end w/ some icebergs then populated it with penguins!

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Penguin love ❤

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You know you can swim, right buddy?

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More Washer Necklaces

Remember those necklaces from a few days ago? Turns out I created a monster and the monster is me!

I decided to try some book themed pendants. My plan was to use text from the books and stick it to the washers. I went to Lowes with hubby and got a bunch of different washers (for $3…score!), dug out my extra copy of Sorcerer’s Stone and my extra copy of Series of Unfortunate Events and set to work!

I will say I felt a little guilty about cutting up a book for this but not enough not to do it! I have listed this as “cheap” an “upcycle” but obviously that is only true if you use books you either a. already have or b. buy used. New books ‘aint cheap!

I didn’t have much luck with text as it’s hard to fit it correctly on a circle shaped washer. I did manage to make this one though. It’s part of the Ravenclaw portion of the Sorting Hat’s song.

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The one next to it is baby Harry…isn’t he sweet? That washer has a small hole in it like the Ravenclaw one but I can’t poke it out or Harry will look like a homicide victim.

I had better luck with the little illustrations at the beginning of chapters.

This is baby Norbert…

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and Harry and the Mirror of Erised.

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and quidditch! (I really like this one)

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At this point my daughter saw what I was doing and asked if I could make her a “Japan” necklace.

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I have no idea what it says. If you can read Japanese and it says something dirty I don’t want to know!

I managed to get a few good ones from my Series of Unfortunate Events book too!
I was much happier because these came from the front and back of the book so I left the book completely readable.  Yay me!

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You may have noticed that I am now used waxed string which I like must better! I also love the addition of beads.
They also make good clasps for the necklaces:

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They held pretty well, just make sure you get the whole bead and the knot through the loop (like I did NOT in the picture) and double over the loop if you are concerned. I wore one all afternoon and it never came undone.

Creamy Cauliflower “Alfredo” Sauce

I found this recipe at Pinch of Yum. Doesn’t it look delicious?

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Well I thought so and I decide to make some!

I didn’t take many pictures but I did get one of the finished sauce. You’ll see that later.

First I gathered all the ingredients:
cauliflower
veggie broth
milk
butter
garlic
Parmesan cheese
Pepper

(now this is supposed to be “healthy” but looking at the ingredients except that there are veggies, not so much)

Anyway…I broke/cut up the cauliflower, put the veggie broth in my stock pot and set it a ‘simmerin.

(another note here, it calls for 6-7 cups of veggie broth to cook the cauliflower in but that seemed a lot of broth to toss so I did 1/2 water)

While that was going I melted my butter and cooked my garlic (from a jar, I don’t have the time or fine motor skills to chop garlic). You have to watch this carefully or the garlic and butter can burn. Guess what? I didn’t and so I had to throw away a crapload of burned butter and garlic. Sad face. After re-doing that step the cauliflower was def done so I turned the heat off the butter and got to pureeing!

Here’s where I hit the second snafu of the evening. I don’t have a blender. I do have a Kitchen Ninja, which I love, but it’s on the small size. Also, I found out that if you fill it too full when you push the cover down hot liquid will shoot out the space around where to blade spindle thingy sticks out the top and burn the shit out of your hand. It also makes a farting noise which seems funny until molten cauliflower liquid hits your skin. Also pureeing all that cauliflower took, like five batches which was a pain.

Once I was done I turned the heat back up on the garlic, added the puree, pepper and cheese and stirred whilst it heated through. It looked and smelled AWESOME! We served it over pasta with more cheese.

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It was pretty good but did not taste like Alfredo. It wasn’t nearly as smooth as the recipe claimed but that may have been the fault of me and my 3rd degree burns. Also later in the recipe it says that adding olive oil will help with that so I may try that next time.

And there will be a next time, although I don’t think as a pasta sauce. Maybe with rice or some kind of casserole…we will see!

Washer Necklaces for the Pintester Movement

I took on this craft as part of the Pintester Movement.  For more info click the awesome banner below!

I highly recommend visiting Sonja’s blog so go there. Seriously, do it!

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I decided to attempt Washer necklaces from Craftster.

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Honestly I chose them because I thought I had most of the stuff. I knew I had scrapbook paper, Mod Podge  and cording and I figured hubby would have some washers in his shed of manliness.

Weeelll…not exactly.

I did have paper, that was good, but the cording was way too thick, the mod Podge had a big hardened plug at the top of it and hubby only had smallish washers, not the big type needed for this craft.

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Being that it Is still a week until payday we had to either make it work for little $ or re-think. Thinking is hard people. After assessing the situation we managed to get the plug out of the Mod Podge and it looked OK. Hubby assured me washers are cheap so we headed out to the mega-mart. About $2 later ($1 for three large washers, $.75 for stretch cording) and we were good to go!

Behold!

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First step is to trace and cut out the paper used to cover our washer…

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Cutting the inside circle out was difficult so by the second one I cut through to make it easier. I figure we are gluing it down anyway, right?

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Once cut you need to Mod Podge the washer and the back of the paper…

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stick them together and then cover with more MP and let dry.

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I missed the part where it said a thin layer of MP so it took a loooong time to dry. But dry they eventually did!

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Except maybe that orange one. Oh well, I’m tired of waiting!

At this point the original tutorial says to apply a thick layer of something called “glossy accent” and wait 24 hours. Well, I couldn’t find that stuff and if I wait 24hrs I risk missing the deadline for the Pintester Movement so we are going to skip that step. I used glossy MP so I say good enough!

Now time to make this into a necklace.

The cord was pretty kinky. Usually I like that in a person but not in my cord.

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I cut a length of cord (sorry didn’t measure) and tied it together at the top. To attach the washer I just made a loop around it and pulled through.
This is the final result:

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I think they will be cute once un-kinked! I am wearing this one now in an attempt to make that happen but since it ended up hanging in my cleavage I don’t know how well it will work.

Here’s all three.

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Easy-Peasy Car Bomb Cupcakes

This Is an old one. I made these last St. Patrick’s day and everyone loved them!
Well not my son but he doesn’t like cake the weirdo or my daughter who had her own GF cake.

We used to have a little cupcake bakery in town that made the best Car Bomb cupcakes. Unfortunately they went out of business 😦 I feared St. Patty’s day might never be the same again until I hit on the idea of making my own. Thing is…I’m lazy. Like seriously. I hardly ever make bake goods from scratch and all the recipes I found looked so complicated!

Oh, and in case you don’t know know what makes a Car Bomb cupcake is, it is basically a chocolate stout cupcake filled with an Irish whiskey ganache and topped with an Irish Crème buttercream.

Finally after searching the interwebs for ideas, combining several and adding a dash of my own ingenuity and came up with this recipe. These are not completely authentic: real Car Bomb cupcakes are filled with chocolate whiskey ganache and mine are dipped in chocolate ganache-no whiskey. They are pretty close though and the are delicious!

 

Easy-peasy Car Bomb Cupcakes

Ingredients:

for the cake
1 box dark Chocolate cake mix + ingredients to make it
Stout such as Guinness

for the frosting
Store bought vanilla frosting
Irish Cream coffee creamer
powdered sugar

for the ganache
1 bag dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
1 C  cream or half and half

Basically you make the cake mix subbing in stout in place of water, it’s really that simple.

For the frosting add a few tablespoons of creamer to the store bought frosting. Depending on the brand you may want more and then you may need to add some powdered sugar to get the frosting back to the right consistency.

For the ganache you need to heat the cream to almost boiling in a saucepan, take it off the heat then dump in the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted. That’s it! Ganache is one of those things that sound fancy and complicated but are seriously easy.

To assemble you need to bake and cool the cupcakes. While waiting for the cakes to cool you can make the frosting but do not make the ganache until you are ready to to the cakes as it will harden.

Once the cupcakes are ready and the ganache is ready just dip the tops in ganache and set them aside to cool again. They should look like this:

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Once the ganache has set, you are ready to frost. I make a piping bag out of a ziplock bag with the corner snipped. I added green food color gel for festivity an topped with green sprinkles.

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And there you have it! Car Bomb cupcakes for the lazy!

DIY Elastic Hair Ties

I was looking for a small gift to make for my cheerleaders when I came across these on Kelly Elizabeth:

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I figured I could make them easily enough and who needs hair ties more than cheerleaders?

I searched the internet for glitter elastic and found some in our team colors (blue, red and silver).

Once the elastic arrived I started craftin’!
It took a little trial and error as the glitter elastic wasn’t quite as…well…elastic as the regular type. I ended up with longer pieces then the blog called for.
I used 10″-11″ pieces depending on the color. Silver was the most stretchy, blue the least.

Here is the result!

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All ready to hand out to my cheer girlies!

All said I made about 60 of these things. It wasn’t difficult but my fingers hurt by the end (glitter is sharp peeps!) and I was covered in red white and silver sparkles. The cost was pretty minimal too; I spent $15 on elastic and got oodles of custom hair ties! This one is a WIN!